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“Door’s Open” for Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R in IMSA, PWC

Callaway: “Door’s Open” for customer sales of Corvette C7 GT3-R in U.S…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography/ADAC

With Cadillac’s Pirelli World Challenge program coming to an end, Callaway is moving forward in offering its Corvette C7 GT3-R to customers in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli Word Challenge, with the company able to support up to two teams next year, according to Reeves Callaway.

The U.S.-based manufacturer, through its German operations, have fielded the self-built car in ADAC GT Masters since 2016, winning this year’s highly competitive championship with Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz.

Callaway, however, had been unable to race or offer its Corvette for sale in the U.S. due to a GT3 exclusivity agreement with GM, which signed off on the car’s homologation in exchange for allowing its Cadillac ATS-V.R to compete as the sole GM-based model in North America.

“It was with the understanding we would sell those cars worldwide to race teams, in all markets except North America, until Cadillac sun-setted the program. That appears to have happened,” Callaway told Sportscar365.

“Now the door’s open for us to campaign the car in North America. We’re excited about it.”

The company founder is now personally working to secure initial car sales to customer teams, potentially for both series, ahead of the 2018 seasons.

“There’s lots of activity right now,” Callaway said. “As you can imagine, it’s both ways. We’re trying to see what’s going to be the best route for us to enter competition in North America.

“It’s early days. We have a lot of work to do, a lot teams to meet and talk to.

“The nice news is that everyone thinks this is a good idea, [in] putting another GT3 car in the field. Everybody’s excited about it, from the teams to the organizers.”

Callaway said they plan to provide a full support package to teams, including trackside engineering and spares, but admitted they can probably only support two “good front-running teams” next year, due to the short notice.

“Heading into 2019, that might be a different story but we have to grow this program step by step,” he said. “You can imagine the importance of making a good impression on the first outing.

“We just have to align ourselves with the right, capable teams in either series.

“Now the car’s mature. It’s got great durability; it’s a very strong car. It runs at the pointy end of the field. And it’s running costs, as you’d expect with a Corvette, are very reasonable.

“We have to approach this from a commercial point of view. We have to take orders, build cars, supply them on time and support them. It isn’t a case of building an inventory; these cars are built on a per-order basis.”

While three cars have been built for competition in GT Masters, Callaway said they currently have one additional, brand-new chassis.

Additional cars are likely to continue to be built at its workshop in Germany, although Callaway said they have the capacity to build new GT3 cars at its facilities in California and Connecticut in the future.

Callaway said they’ve ruled out running a program under its own banner in the U.S., and said its customers will dictate where the car is raced next year.

“Each [series] has their perks, if you will,” he said. “The WeatherTech Championship is a great, super competitive field.

“The PWC side is a format that we’re very used to [in Europe] with one-hour races with driver changes. That would be an easy thing to step into.

“Frankly it will depend on which teams step forward on who want to carry this banner.”

The company plans to have a Callaway Corvette on display at the PRI show in December, with Callaway traveling to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend’s inaugural California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge round to meet with prospective customers. 

Atherton: Callaway Falls Under GM Agreement

IMSA President Scott Atherton says the Callaway Corvette will be eligible to compete in the GT Daytona class without an additional manufacturer agreement, as the car would fall under the sanctioning body’s existing partnership with GM.

“They would be recognized as a GM product,” Atherton told Sportscar365. “An existing relationship is already there.

“The car would have to go through the same process of all cars competing in the WeatherTech Championship; it’d have to go to the wind tunnel. We’d have to dyno the engine; we’d have to know what we’re entering.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Tarek R

    October 10, 2017 at 8:35 am

    This is a great news for North American GT3 racing. The car is doing really well in Germany but never competed in the much bigger Blancpain GT Series.

  2. Are You Happy?

    October 10, 2017 at 8:48 am

    There you go, now you can all shut up about this car

    • Tyler Sanders

      October 10, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Are you disgruntled

      • Race Cars Make Me Happy!

        October 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

        I’m actually excited about the car, just got a little annoyed at everyone always bringing it up in the past…

        • Marcus

          October 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm

          This car is NEVER mentioned on this site or in general, “Race cars” so i’m confused by what you mean. This car is amazing, but most teams are too spoiled now with the over gratification from factory support.

          • Max

            October 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm

            No, he or she is right. The commenters here and on other sites liked to throw shade at GM for not allowing the GT3 Corvette to race in the US. Once the ATS GT3 program was canned the same people got fired up again. This article clears it all up.

      • Cactus Tony

        October 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        Probably just tired of people soiling themselves over a car that’s probably never going to appear in the first place, when we’re having trouble retaining the GT cars we currently have.

        • Andy Flinn

          October 10, 2017 at 3:53 pm

          Yeah, Cactus, because Callaway Corvettes have never raced in IMSA before (Aspen Knolls 2001).

          Right?

  3. daedalus

    October 10, 2017 at 8:51 am

    One of the reasons it never ran in the pro class in blancpain is the lack of factory support. Almost all the pro teams have some sort of assistance from the factory even if it is just a few floating engineers. Factory support is not really provided much to pro-am teams or pro-am championships such as ADAC Masters, British GT etc. It’s all about what car the team can afford to run and how much spares cost etc.

    Maybe a US team that has a relationship with GM can step up and run the cars, like blackdog speedshop in PWC for example.

    • Andrew

      October 10, 2017 at 9:17 am

      I think with the US based shops they have, Callaway will try to offer something to teams willing to take on running the car. Apparently they can actually move production to the US so there has to be some support there. Plus I’m thinking those who would take on the Vette will want to run a decent program not a show string budget so there will be cash.

      Any idea the cost relative the others in GT3?

  4. Tyler Sanders

    October 10, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I would love for this car to be run in the balcpain series more than any other series. The definitely would need big support to compete in that series.

  5. Andrew

    October 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Well does anyone else that means someone has approached them regarding entering a Callaway Vette in IMSA?

    • tracer

      October 10, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Well we know John Dagys has. 😉

  6. Prototype 1

    October 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Finally!!!

    Wonder which teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli Word Challenge will take this magnificent car.

    • Andy Flinn

      October 10, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Who owns the Whelen-sponsored Callaway Corvette that was raced in the ADAC series in Germany last year? That would be a good start.

      Also, Stevenson Motorsports might be enticed to stay in the IMSA WeatherTech series if they have an opportunity to race a Corvette again.

      • Prototype 1

        October 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        The team that owned the Whelen C7 GT3 was Callaway Competition.

      • Andrew

        October 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

        There’s NO, ZERO, ZIP, NADA chance of seeing Stevenson back racing. They are done and are closing up the shop, the family is moving on and stepping back now. The only reason they still ran the R8s was their contract with Audi required they finish the season, they had a deal with GM and some support but walked away from that. Why would they restart a program with a new car with much less support than the Camaro program had?

        • Andy Flinn

          October 10, 2017 at 8:53 pm

          Maybe they’d rather race in the WeatherTech series and events like the Rolex24.

          • Have you watched Andy?

            October 11, 2017 at 7:27 am

            So the Audi R8 GTD car was in what class exactly??

          • Rocky

            October 12, 2017 at 9:07 am

            No. The team is shut down and everything is for sale. You can wish all you want but the answer is no. Only hope is if someone walked in and bought the complete team minus the cars and then bought a Callaway. Even then, it would be called something else, not Stevenson.

      • Edgar Sanchez

        October 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

        Perhaps Sonny Whelen and the Marsh Racing crew could race one. Theyve been racing Whelen sponsored vettes in PWC/Grand Am for as long as I can remember.

        • Andy Flinn

          October 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

          “Have you” I’ll say it again because you have trouble comprehending.

          For most of their time in sports car racing, Stevenson has raced Corvettes, Pontiacs, and Camaros in the Rolex24 and other places. I don’t think that was by accident.

          Obviously, for whatever reason, Stevenson is no longer interested in racing the Audis or the Conti series Camaros.

          They’ve raced Corvettes before in the Grand-Am Rolex series.

          Perhaps the opportunity to race a Corvette (Callaway GT3) in the IMSA WeatherTech series might just change minds.

          • Rocky

            October 12, 2017 at 9:11 am

            Andy, Stevenson was ready to pull out mid season. This is not a question of him getting interested again. It’s financial. Don’t be surprised that the Stevenson dealerships get sold in the near future and goes off into the land of retirement. Think of it as what happened to Brumos. Team stopped racing and the dealer was sold.

            Also, Johnny even ran and drove Porsches for the 24.

      • gtgianlu

        October 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm

        Eric Curran.He raced it with Boris Said in selected events in Europe last year

  7. cbbrit

    October 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    In PWC, Blackdog Speed Shop would be one that comes to mind!

  8. Mike

    October 10, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Haha yeah next troll issue. This is good though. I’m picky, I want it in that sweet Valvoline livery.

  9. Passenger

    October 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    The potential users would be WRT and Whelen in IMSA, Blackdog in PWC. GAINSCO may use it in PWC. However, it is sad that it is too late for Stevenson.

    • Psychlops924

      October 11, 2017 at 2:30 am

      WRT is closing in on a factory supported Lamborghini program in GTD next year. There’s no way they’d leave that for a Corvette they’d have to pay for. They have the Cadillac relationship, but they also have an existing relationship with Lamborghini via Super Trofeo, and if the rumored GTE (GTLM) Lamborghini program ever does materialize, WTR would be the ones to run it in the US. So sorry, we need to rule them out.

      • Brian

        October 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

        Who is WRT? That squad runs Audi’s in Europe…unless you mean WTR, the only reason they are doing Lambo is because of a partnership with a team in Indy that runs Lambos in Super Trofeo. So its technically that team but with a Wayne Taylor banner under them (Similar to Land Motorsport and Starworks).

  10. Davy

    October 11, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Yesss, I love Corvette. It’s such a bummer that they are planning a switch to mid-engine though. Hopefully it doesn’t materialize.

    • Brian

      October 11, 2017 at 9:40 am

      The mid engine is a premium model, with the C7 continuing as the bread and butter car….C7 GT3 will be relevant for atleast another 3-4 years.

  11. Ben Larson

    October 11, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I wonder what stopped the car from racing in GTD this year. GM and Callaway said it was not allowed due to the Cadillac in PWC. The Cadillacs never raced in GTD, so why all of the sudden is it able to race in GTD. GM does not compete against itself. I am not sure GM would want the GT3 Corvettes taking anything away from the GTLM Corvettes. Hopefully all the programs (GTLM, GT3/GTD and PWC) continue for Corvette.

    • DC

      October 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      GM signed off on the car’s homologation in exchange for allowing its Cadillac ATS-V.R to compete as the sole GM-based model for customer racing in North America. Cadillac chose only to race in PWC. With Cadillac Racing’s demise, the restriction no longer applies.

    • Ryan

      October 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      This is the biggest question I had from all this. The only reasoning is either they thought it would take away too much attention from the Caddy (even though its another series), or they had some moment of clarity about their previous excuse of “fans cant tell the difference between GTE & GTD models” -__-

  12. Zone

    October 13, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Great for all us Corvette fans. Let Cadillac play in the prototype class all it wants. That prototype car design has been around since 2011. Never been crazy about it’s looks. Mid engine corvette bring it on.

    • Ryan

      October 13, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      If you get a chance to see this in person, it is insanely good. Never been happier to see this opportunity finally open for Callaway after 10 yrs of their GT3 program.

  13. Larry

    October 21, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Has GM actually approved this? Never mind the Caddie going away, has GM blessed this car coming to IMSA or PWC?

    Given their aversion to non-customer teams running their products and basically only allowing factory teams to run them, one must wonder.

    And yes, the Camaros for Black Dog in PWC and Stevenson in Conti were factory efforts this year.

    Remember that GM wouldn’t even let Larbre run a GTE-PRO Corvette in WEC and gave little to no support for the GTE-AM effort.

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